Tucson Unified School District unveils plan to comply with federal desegregation order

May 02, 2013

The Tucson Unified School District has rolled out a nearly $85 million plan to desegregate its schools. The district must spend the money under an order by the U.S. Justice Department to racially diversify its staff and classrooms.

The Tucson Unified School District has been embroiled in a 30 year court battle over the desegregation issue.

A "special master" appointed by the federal government stepped in last year to help resolve the dispute. Now, TUSD must spend tens of millions of dollars to develop programs to improve the racial diversity of administrators and students.

TUSD Governing Board President Adelita Grijalva said the district could still face additional lawsuits.

"We've heard a lot from Native American communities as to feeling left out of this plan and so there may be something in the future. If we're not serving our constituents well, we may be back in court," Grijalva said.

Some state officials oppose the TUSD desegregation plan because it calls for new cultural programs that critics say are similar to the district's Mexican-American studies program. It was shut down last year after the state threatened to withhold millions in funding for the district.

TUSD's governing board is expected to vote on the desegregation plan next week. 

Updated 5/2/2013 at 4:30 p.m.